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The Value Hunter: Round 22 - Tigers vs Bombers

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Tigers vs Bombers

The penultimate round of season 2018 begins tonight at the MCG. Richmond hosts Essendon for the second time this year and the Bombers have everything on the line tonight. An unlikely win will keep the glimmer of finals alive for Essendon while a loss would see them ruing some poor early season form. Richmond already have the minor premiership sewn up and will simply be looking to keep their systems purring along in preparation for a premiership tilt. Neither team have been big fantasy scorers this year although the Bombers do have more high ceiling players. One word of caution - do not pay too much attention to Essendon’s stats from last week. The Bombers were down to 18 fit players early in the last quarter and the remaining players had no choice but to stay on the field. This resulted in some inflated fantasy scoring.

Rucks

Being forced to pick a ruckman tonight is like being forced to take your cousin to the Year 12 formal. You don’t want to do it but you know that your mum won’t let you go to the after party unless you do (note: this never happened to me, I promise). Last time these two teams met, it was Tom Bellchambers who took the chocolates (105 fps to 85). Toby Nankervis comes straight back after a week’s rest. I haven’t picked Nankervis correctly all year, so just do the opposite of whatever I say.

My take: Bellchambers.

Defenders

Ryan Garthwaite is the sole $5K defensive option tonight. Picking a cheap key defender against Essendon isn’t the worst idea considering they don’t have a tall forward line at the moment but I think I’m going to look elsewhere for my value.

When Aaron Francis doesn’t have a direct matchup, he’s someone who I’ll always consider. It’s great to see Francis string a few games together and he clearly has a very high football IQ. I expect Francis will be allowed to float across the back line, trying to intercept Richmond’s repeat inside 50s.

Speaking of intercepts, while Alex Rance may lead the league (9.9 per game), Nick Vlastuin isn’t far behind him (7.8). Vlastuin doesn’t just rely on intercepts though and is averaging career highs in just about every stat category. Vlastuin hasn’t scored below 70 in his last four encounters with the Dons.

Andrew McGrath had a season-high 113 last week. However, this score was inflated due to the loss of Saad and later, the lack of rotations. McGrath’s run will be important today but I’m sceptical that he can score that high again tonight. I’ll be more keen on McGrath if Saad doesn’t pull up in time.

Brandon Ellis has been solid over the past month but hasn’t scored a 100+ since July. I suspect that many coaches will load up on mid-priced players today with Vlastuin likely to be a popular target. Ellis could be a nice little pivot option and he does have excellent upside.

My takes: Francis, McGrath, Vlastuin.

Forwards

There’s a bit of forward line value around tonight, although each of these plays have limited ceilings. Liam Baker has hilariously been named at CHF despite being listed at 173cm. Team namings mean very little these days and this is yet another example. Richmond’s structures will look a little different tonight and Baker may get a more prominent forward role with Higgins, Caddy and Edwards likely to spend more time in the midfield. Jason Castagna is having a lean fantasy run but I think $6,700 is a very tempting price. Finally, Travis Colyer becomes more relevant with Orazio Fantasia missing. Colyer’s scoring increased in the last quarter when Orazio went down with 41 percent of Colyer’s possessions coming in that quarter (Note: This half-forward link role could also be played by Matt Guelfi).

As I mentioned above, Jack HigginsShane Edward and Josh Caddy will spend more time in the midfield tonight. The only issue is that Richmond midfielders are not high fantasy scorers, so despite the increased role of these players, it’s not like there are many points to be had. Also, many coaches will be using this strategy tonight so it could be a good one to avoid. 

Kyle Langford turned out to be one of my POD team players of the year last week, returning a handsome score of 113 #humblebrag. Langford score did include two goals but his work around the contest and up the ground was impressive. I think he’s still a decent play tonight even at $11K.

My takes: Francis, Higgins, Langford.

Midfielders

There have been a few times this season when I’ve expected Jack Graham to get a usage bump and sadly, it’s never really eventuated. Graham has been named in the guts and if he can’t produce a decent fantasy score without Prestia and Cotchin, then I wonder whether he ever will. Reece Conca is another Richmond player who can benefit from this situation and he was putting some very nice scores on the board before missing the last month through injury.

Second tier Essendon mids, Kyle Langford and David Myers were excellent last week but their scores were also influenced by increased minutes in the last quarter. Some good old recency bias will keep Myers’ ownership fairly high, while Langford’s 3rd 100 of the season will increase his profile and ownership.

From here, I’ll be looking at Essendon’s high ceiling mids who should score well against a Richmond side that doesn’t tag.

My takes: Graham, Conca, Myers, Studs.

Final thoughts…

What was originally a very tough little slate became more manageable/boring with Richmond’s selections of Thursday night. It’s now quite easy to build around Zach Merrett but I think this fantasy contest will be won and lost in the backline.